HoxB4 confers definitive lymphoid-myeloid engraftment potential on embryonic stem cell and yolk sac hematopoietic progenitors

Cell. 2002 Apr 5;109(1):29-37. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)00680-3.


The extent to which primitive embryonic blood progenitors contribute to definitive lymphoid-myeloid hematopoiesis in the adult remains uncertain. In an effort to characterize factors that distinguish the definitive adult hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) and primitive progenitors derived from yolk sac or embryonic stem (ES) cells, we examined the effect of ectopic expression of HoxB4, a homeotic selector gene implicated in self-renewal of definitive HSCs. Expression of HoxB4 in primitive progenitors combined with culture on hematopoietic stroma induces a switch to the definitive HSC phenotype. These progenitors engraft lethally irradiated adults and contribute to long-term, multilineage hematopoiesis in primary and secondary recipients. Our results suggest that primitive HSCs are poised to become definitive HSCs and that this transition can be promoted by HoxB4 expression. This strategy for blood engraftment enables modeling of hematopoietic transplantation from ES cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / embryology
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Globins / genetics
  • Graft Survival / genetics
  • Hematopoiesis / genetics*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology
  • Myeloid Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods
  • Yolk Sac / cytology
  • Yolk Sac / embryology*
  • Yolk Sac / metabolism


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hoxb4 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Globins